Actor Spotlight | Patrick Walshe McBride
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
✨ PATRICK WALSHE MCBRIDE
Welcome to the first of our Reveller Actor Spotlight posts, where we revel in the opinions, memories and achievements of some of our beloved alumni.
First up is the gentle giant that is Patrick Walshe Mcbride (far right): incredible actor, incredible voice, lovely smile! Patrick is a busy bee, and his theatre credits include Photograph 51 starring Nicole Kidman (Noel Coward, West End), Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Winter’s Tale (Sheffield Crucible), Harold and Maude (Charing Cross), Present Laughter (Theatre Royal bath and Tour) as well as Go People's production of Almost, Maine at Park Theatre 4 years ago! You may also have caught him on the big screen in Backdraft 2 and the small screen in Lewis (ITV), Giri/Haji (Netflix/BBC) and as a properly chameleonic regular in Shakespeare and Hathaway (BBC).
We sat down with him this week to get his opinion on the Revels experience, take a small trip down memory lane and pick his brains for good TV recs this autumn...
Revellers: For somebody who seems to have plenty of experience in both, do you prefer acting for stage or for screen?
Patrick: There are a lot of people more experienced, skilled and knowledgeable than I am who could talk about the differences and the similarities between acting for stage and for screen (what I can tell is that one’s generally louder than the other), but boringly I’d have to say that I love the variety of doing both. Mixing it up between the two helps keep the job fresh and exciting and working on different muscles, in a similar way to working in different genres, or playing different types of roles.
I do really like the longer rehearsal processes for stage stuff, and the direct complicity with the audience. And the megalomaniac in me is fond of the fact that actors have such power and control on the stage - the whole thing only ‘happens’ when the actor makes it, whereas really with screen stuff the whole thing comes together either when the editor finishes the cut or when the viewer presses play. But then with screen stuff, you have a kind of unique collaborative relationship with the camera operator added to the mix, and the luxury of being able, for example, to actually whisper if you’re meant to be whispering. And you don’t have to say the same words night after night for months on end, which is a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it - or how good the words are.
Revellers: What’s different about acting privately in homes and clubs with Revels in Hand? Is private theatre a bit like screen acting? Patrick: In a lot of ways, it’s the best of both worlds. The subtleties that would read on camera can usually also be picked up in the kinds of intimate spaces Revels in Hand works in. But you also have the direct complicity with the audience that you have on stage, which is heightened by the fact that you’re so clearly sharing the same space and usually the same lighting state, and that you’re visiting them rather than them coming to ‘your’ theatre. That makes a big difference because in a theatre it can be easy to feel like the weight of the occasion demands a formality, or that everyone should be on their best behaviour, which can inhibit an audience’s response to and interaction with a piece. Whereas when you’re bringing the show to someone, they’re literally on home ground and can be fully themselves. It’s a kind of party atmosphere that’s hard to create elsewhere.
Revellers: You've acted with us indoors, outdoors, in summer and in winter. Have you got a favourite memory from a Revels in Hand performance?
Patrick: Doing excerpts from A Christmas Carol at the Pro Bono charity Christmas concert in Temple Church was brilliant - it had the Revels in Hand hallmarks of an unusual space, inventive adaptation and staging (using the pulpit for the counting house), and audience participation (the choirboys acquitted themselves brilliantly).
Most of all it was perhaps the Christmassiest thing I have participated in. And the sprig of holly on the pudding was to offer my interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge having given my Tiny Tim in my stage début at the age of four.
Revellers: You also worked with Revels in Hand's public production company (Go People) on Almost Maine at the Park Theatre 4 years ago! What did you love about that play?
Patrick: Another Christmassy extravaganza! My favourite thing about the play is how uncynical and full of heart it is. There's an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote at the start of the script that reads: "the sentimental person thinks things will last - the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't", followed by a note from the playwright: "this is for romantics - not sentimentalists."
Revellers: There was a lot of multi-roling going on in that show. Who was your favourite character?
Patrick: Probably Jimmy, who runs into his ex-girlfriend, who he hasn't gotten over, at her bachelorette party. Because it’s braver to be brave when it doesn’t come naturally. And also the actor playing him was very good and extremely handsome.
Revellers: Alright, enough about us. What would you recommend we catch on stage or TV at the moment?
Patrick: I feel a bit out of the loop but Killing Eve is obviously brilliant, I saw an episode of Travelman and really enjoyed it, and I profoundly believe that Gogglebox is one of the best things ever put on TV. Theatre wise I’d definitely recommend The Jungle and Misty. There’s loads I want to see, including How To Skin a Cat, Company and everything at the Kiln (née Tricycle) now it’s reopened. And for films I’m looking forward to The Favourite.
Revellers: Have you got a favourite actor or actress?
Patrick: ...Brendan Gleeson, Kate Winslet, Tobias Menzies, Fiona Shaw, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Campbell Moore, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Lillian Gish, Simon Russell Beale, Mark Rylance, Robin Williams, Sally Field, Harvey Keitel, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Olivia Colman, Claire Price, Oscar Batterham, Michaela Coel, Steve Buscemi, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Benton, Jo Joyner, The Dench...
Revellers: Quite the list! And finally, what do you think you'd be if you weren’t an actor?
Patrick: I have a very active imaginary alternate life as a crusading human rights lawyer with an eye on eventually running for the United States senate.